‘We want to celebrate the way (disability) enriches our world,’ says program director
Deb Bartlett

Gord Tulloch hopes that the upcoming Wide Angle Media (WAM) film festival will create awareness and change perceptions about people who have a disability.

Gord is a program director at posAbilities, one of the co-sponsors of the March event that will feature five films by filmmakers who have disability.

“We work with a very stigmatized, very marginalized group that is not represented in media,” says Gord.

He says when groups are represented in the media, attitudes shift.

“We can see that with women in media, with minorities in media, we can see it with gay/lesbian in media, that it starts to bring consciousness, a social awareness to people and they start to learn other people’s stories and make space for them.”

WAM is B.C.’s first film festival for people who have a disability.

Gord says philosophically, there are two ways of looking at holding a festival just for people who have a disability.

One way, he says, is that the festival is in a silo, “replicating old, segregating pictures of disabilities; that’s it’s different or special or unique and needs to be held ‘over on the side here.’”

The other school of thought, says Gord, is that as with other marginalized groups – visible minorities, gay and lesbian – they host their own events because “it’s something to celebrate. It’s something about their culture, their values, their experiences, their communities.”

Disability is no different, he says.

“We want to celebrate the way that it enriches our world,” and at the same time have it become a part of mainstream media, says Gord.

In addition to the screenings of the five films, WAM will feature workshops for filmmakers, including introductions to funding organizations.

S. Siobhan McCarthy, an independent film producer and artistic director of Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture, is WAM’s producer.

The event will be held March 22-25 at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.

For a related story, “Wide Angle Media Festival features films by people who have a disability,” click here.

For more on the event, visit the Kickstart website here.

To comment on this story, contact Deb at 800-294-0051, ext. 30 or e-mail deb(at)axiomnews.ca.